Karnataka HC issues contempt notice to Deccan Herald for publishing fake news

Karnataka HC issues contempt notice to Deccan Herald for publishing fake news

The Karnataka High Court today directed the Registrar General of the Court to issue notice for contempt of Court to the Editor and Publishers of the  newspaper daily, Deccan Herald for publishing fake news.

A Division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Sreeniwas Oka and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur took suo motu cognizance of the “false news report” published by the Deccan Herald, which had stated that Rupees 9 crores was seized from the residence of a City Civil Court (Bengaluru) Judge in a raid by the “vigilance wing of the Karnataka High Court” .

At the outset, the Court rejected the above allegations and stated that the news item was false, having no valid material or grounds.

The news report had further stated that “Karnataka High Court issued notices to 48 judges of the Trial Court” and that “more than 20 judges have taken voluntary retirement in the last 45 days but the reason was not clear”.

The Court further dismissed these allegations as fake news as well, observing that,

“Even the statement that 48 Judges have been issued notices is false. Last year only 8 Judges have applied for voluntary retirement. The state government has accepted 4 and the remaining 4 are pending

… False news items will affect the administration of Justice.”

The Court added that the news report appeared to be scandalous.

In view of the same, the Court proceeded to direct the the Registrar General to issue the contempt of Court notice to Deccan Herald. The contempt notice is returnable by December 20, 2019.

Update: After the Court issued contempt notice, Deccan herald has retracted the article entirely and has further apologized for the incorrect news report.

In its news website, the Editor of Deccan Herald stated,

Deccan Herald carried an article captioned “Rs 9 cr seized in raid on judge” on the front page of our edition dated December 16, 2019. The article also referred to notices allegedly issued to 48 judicial officers. The article was based on information provided by an anonymous informant. On conducting an internal inquiry and based on information that has since reached the Editor, it transpires that the contents of the Article are incorrect and as no such raid was conducted on any judge’s premises a and no notices have been issued to Judicial Officers as stated in the Article, we therefore withdraw the report entirely. We express deep regret for the said publication and unconditionally apologise for the error and the incorrect report.”

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